China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) has officially handed over 8 K-8P fighter jet trainers to the Zambian government.
Speaking at the handover ceremony held at Zambia Air Force Mumbwa Air Base today, CATIC President Liu Jianhai said Zambia Air Force (ZAF) is an excellent and trustable force as it has shown strict and professional operation and maintenance of big fleet.
Mr. Liu Jianhai said the handover ceremony of 8 K-8P Aircraft marked a new milestone of cooperation between the Zambian Government and CATIC.
He thanked the Zambian government, military and civilian people and the Chinese experts who contributed to the handover ceremony.
And Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba commended CATIC for its professionalism which it has exhibited over the years since the transactions between Zambia and CATIC begun.
The Minister said ZAF has a sizeable fleet of Chinese Aircraft on its inventory.
Mr Mwamba said the procurement of the K-8P Aircrafts by the Zambian government from CATIC has marked another milestone in the cordial relations exhibited between the two partners.
He however said that spares for maintenance of the Aircrafts need to be provided and called upon CATIC to render timely support.
The Minister said the assets were bought at a great cost and implored ZAF Personnel to diligently look after the Aircraft for them to last long and pledged government’s commitment to keep the machines in optimum condition by providing resources for the much needed spares, an effort to improve standards in the Defence Forces in order to make them viable and sustainable.
Meanwhile, Zambia Air Commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese expressed gratitude to the government for provisioning the much needed Aircraft to enhance the capability of Defending the nation and helping maintain peace that Zambia has cherished since independence.
Lieutenant Chimese said that it was encouraging to note that steps are being taken to improve the status of Zamia’s aviation despite meagre resources.
He however appealed to government that spares and maintenance funds be made available regularly and timely.
And Zambia Air Commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese has assured that the Aircraft will be handled by highly trained personnel both interms of aviators and technicians.